What is the Skinny?
There are only two types of hairless, or bald, guinea pigs worldwide – the Baldwin and the Skinny. Here, we will be focusing on the Skinny.
The Skinny is one of its kind, with very distinctive features that separate it from all other guinea pigs.
It is not as common as the regular guinea pig.
However, it is mild, easily domesticated, and has gained popularity as a pet.
History of the Skinny
Did you know that guinea pigs used to be bred solely for research because they share similarities with us, including an immune system and a thymus?
In 1978, at the Institut Armand Frappier of Montreal, Quebec, the Skinny was developed by crossing two different breeds of guinea pigs, one hairless and one haired.
It was later adopted by Charles River Laboratories in 1982, becoming one of the newest breeds of domesticated guinea pigs in the market.
What does a Skinny look like?
Skinnys have smooth skin.
It is mostly hairless and only has hair on its limbs and snout.
Many people believe that Skinnys are just shaved guinea pigs. That is not true; the Skinny is a real species of guinea pig!
Skinnys have gentle, smooth skin. All the owners I know love to run their hands all over their pets! The skin of the Skinny is generally smooth. It has some loose skin on their necklines and limbs. Skinnys may look skinny with their taut skin. However, if one has visible bones poking out of its body, it is malnourished and/or underweight.
What does a Skinny eat?
Before taking a look at what a Skinny can eat, let us take a quick look at its bedding.
Skinnys love to nibble on their bedding, and for this reason, it is highly recommended to get an edible bedding that also provides a soft and cozy sleeping area for them.
Timothy Hay is recommended for this exact reason.
A healthy diet for a Skinny should include edible bedding for sleeping and nibbling on between meals.
Also, it contains fresh produce to maintain a healthy digestive tract and dried pet food for essential vitamins and minerals.
Some recommendations of fresh produce are apples, celery, spinach, and blueberries. Dried pellets contain the necessary vitamins and minerals.
While the Skinny can eat almost all fresh produce, these must be avoided at all costs: chocolate, meat, sweetcorn, potatoes, and all dairy products.
A foolproof method would be to measure out and keep track of each type of food given to your pet so that you do not give it too much.
How do I care for my Skinny?
The Skinny is just like any other breed of guinea pigs except it does not have hair.
It has the same nutritional needs, is playful, and is very energetic.
Because it does not have hair, however, it is much more sensitive to the environment.
Imagine going out in the dead of winter wearing nothing but a T-shirt and shorts.
Or visiting a desert in a singlet and flip-flops.
That is how your Skinny would feel if you do not place enough care on the temperature of its environment.
The Skinny is extremely sensitive to temperatures and needs to be kept at consistent room temperature so that they maintain their ideal body temperature of 70 to 80 °F (21 to 27 °C).
Also, not having hair means the Skinny is more prone to skin problems and injuries, so always make sure that its enclosure is clean and risk-free.
Should you let your Skinny out of its cage, take care that it does not injure itself.
The Final Word on the Skinny
The Skinny, like any other guinea pig, is a tame, energetic, and playful pet.
Take care of it well, and you will be rewarded with a faithful pet that will bring you endless joy.